Following so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday 19th July, Muslims in England have been able to pray together for the first time since the start of the pandemic after social distancing restrictions were eased just in time for the start of Eid al-Adha. In 2020 and 2021 COVID-19 restrictions made the observance of Ramadan (and Eid al-Fitr, which follows the holy month) a very different affair to usual; the easing of UK lockdown rules means celebrations can be more widespread for Eid al-Adha.
There are two key Eids (celebration festivals) in Islam: Eid-al-Fitr, which signifies the completion of the holy month of Ramadan; and Eid-al-Adha, the more holy Eid, which follows the completion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, at the time of Qurbani (sacrifice).
Eid al-Adha honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God’s command. However, before Abraham could carry out this heart-breaking request, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead.
To commemorate this, an animal is traditionally sacrificed and shared. Many Muslims in the UK will instead give money to charity to allow poorer families the chance to have a proper Eid feast, while mosques and community groups will often arrange communal meals.
We wish everyone a happy, healthy time of celebration!